Southern China’s Hainan province will raise its cap on tourists’ duty-free purchases, doubling it to 16,000 yuan (HK$19,000), to boost spending on the resort island. Starting from February 1, visitors will be able to buy up to 16,000 yuan of goods duty-free on the island each year, Wang Huiping, deputy director of the province’s department of finance said on Friday. The present limit is 8,000 yuan a year. Restrictions limiting residents to shopping at duty-free outlets only once a year and tourists twice a year would also be scrapped from February, Wang said. READ MORE: Shoppers’ paradise on Hainan Island gives Hong Kong a run for its money Hainan’s offshore duty-free programme, launched in April 2011, allows individual tourists and residents aged at least 16 to buy certain types of imported goods duty-free. The goods include luxury watches, cosmetics and perfumes, as well as baby formula and coffee. Hainan has two duty-free shops, one in the capital of Haikou and the other in the popular resort city of Sanya. Wang said the two shops would offer online shopping, so that consumers would be able to buy their duty-free goods online and pick them up at the airport by presenting their identity cards and boarding passes. The new feature would make it more convenient for people to shop and travel in the province, he said. Last year, sales at both duty-free stores reached 5.54 billion yuan, with 6.49 million items sold, according to data from the Haikou customs. The stores saw 1.64 million customers. David Lung, managing partner of consulting firm Deloitte’s China consumer products and retail sector, said the relaxation of the rules would help boost luxury consumption in Hainan. But the effect would be limited, he said. “The measure is also unlikely to drive the overall domestic luxury consumption in the country as mainlanders can also buy overseas when travelling and through online shopping,” Lung said. Hainan was unlikely to compete with Hong Kong in attracting mainland Chinese shoppers as they were two different markets, he added.